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Film Room: Breaking Down Arkansas' Jonathan Williams and Previewing His Senior Season

How does Williams skill set differ from the other RBs on the Arkansas roster? What makes him one of the top backs in the SEC?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Williams returns for his senior season at Arkansas behind an even more experienced offensive line. The trench warriors up front made that decision to return a little easier, but what makes JWill the perfect back in the system?

Bret Bielema likes to use multiple backs in a rotation that divides the carries but allows longevity for his running backs. All those parts have to fit together to be successful and Jonathan Williams has proven to be a vital cog in the mechanism. In spite of the fact he is a dangerous weapon on the field the media seems to overlook his talent on a regular basis.

Rushing Stat Highlights

















































What skill set makes him such a great fit for this offense? Nothing Flashy:

Just doing all the right things, and being that steady 3-4 yards per carry guy would be sufficient. The remarkable thing is that JWill brings big play potential to the table in addition to that north south persona. Williams has a unique combination of speed, power and quickness that is extremely rare. At 5'11 220+ Williams is the ideal height and weight for an all purpose back. He can make guys miss in the open field and in the confines of a collapsing hole in the tackle box or lower the shoulder when needed at the end of a run.

Underrated stat: Jonathan Williams broke 65 tackles in 2014, which led the SEC.

Every Down Back:

JWill has all the tools to be a 1st down, 2nd down, short yardage, 3rd and long passing, or two minute back. In the 2014 season Williams ran the ball successfully against stacked 8 and 9 man boxes. He has the power and short area quickness to turn a negative play or busted block into a positive gain. His hands are good enough to make catches on screens and flat throws.

Run Schemes That Fit His Style:

Williams excels in deeper sets where he can get some steam going into the line of scrimmage. Last season he racked up a ton of yards on the fan "favorite" power toss. Even though some teams sent extra defenders to the edge later in the season, this still can be used as a change up in 2015 when teams start crashing inside with those contain players.

He is mostly a one cut an go runner, so the power O schemes with pulling lineman as lead blockers fit him perfectly.

Draws and the occasional lead or wham play play were a staple last season and catch over aggressive fronts out of position. Enos has shown he likes to use a little more fullback than what we saw last season so I'm curious to see how much Williams will be running behind a lead blocker.

Where To Improve

It's not necessarily fair to say Williams has fumbling problems, but compared to some other top running backs in the SEC, he did fumble slightly more frequently. He lost the ball five times last season, including fumbling twice against Missouri and lost one that was very costly.

For his career at Arkansas he has averaged one fumble every 40 carries. Compare that to his SEC counterparts: Nick Chubb 4 fumbles in 219 carries 2014, Derrick Henry 1 fumble in 172 carries, Leonard Fournette 1 fumble in 187 carries and teammate Alex Collins 5 fumbles in 204 carries and you can see there is some room to improve for both Arkansas backs. In a ball control offense turnovers can be even more game changing than one that has more possessions per team.

Every indication is that the fumble and ball security issues will be corrected.

What to Watch in 2015

Dan Enos will have some different ways of using him, like what he had last season in Central Michigan RB Thomas Rawls. (Undrafted FA Seattle Seahawks) The possibility of more screens and check downs will certainly be implemented along with the draw game.

Mel Kiper, ESPN: "Williams has quick feet and can create space laterally without losing much steam," Kiper wrote. "The fact that he gets to split the carries is a good thing for his NFL prospects.

One of the biggest areas for improvement other than ball security has to be in short yardage and goal line situations. Not being able to score at Mississippi State last season inside the 3-yard line was critical.

Punching it in from inside the 5 should be automatic for this team. Later in the season against LSU Williams went over the top to convert on the goal line.

jwill goal line dive

Pass Protection will also be a place where Williams can gain attention from NFL scouts. To be an every down back he will have to show not only willingness to block DEs and LBs but also the ability to be in the right place to execute.

JWill has a skill set that showcases his ability to make sharp, decisive cuts. His power comes after contact where he could once again lead the SEC in broken tackles and yards after contact. His early habit of running too upright has long disappeared and what remains is a forward lean that consistently picks up extra yards. Pushing the pile like an out of control bulldozer with that stout leg drive will wear down defenders.

Williams didn't have to come back for his senior season, but fortunately for Arkansas, he did and is set up to have a special season.